Since this pandemic began, there have been several moments when I walked in the grocery store, looked at the empty produce shelves and thought man, do I miss living on a farm.
Growing up on our farm in Ohio, we never had to worry about bare store shelves.
We had a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables right outside our door.
Growing your own food gives you a sense of control over your own life.
This is especially important during times of uncertainty.
It also helps reduce the pressure on the public food supply, which is why gardening surged in popularity during the two world wars.
During World War I, U.S. commercial crops were diverted to support our troops and our allies, resulting in low food supply at home.
To help increase food availability, “Victory Gardens” began popping up across the country.
Between 1917 and 1918, more than 8 million new garden plots were planted.
Folks used their front yards, back yards, even public places like schools and parks, to grow fresh produce.
These efforts generated an estimated 1.45 million quarts of canned fruits and vegetables to sustain U.S. citizens.
When World War II broke out, commercial crops were again diverted to the military overseas.
Food rationing began in 1942, and Americans had an even greater incentive to grow their own fruits and vegetables wherever they could.
And gardening grew in popularity once more.
From homes to apartment buildings, folks found ways to garden and grow their own crops.
Eleanor Roosevelt even planted a victory garden on the White House lawn.
By 1944 an estimated 20 million victory gardens produced roughly 8 million tons of food, the equivalent of more than 40% of all the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in the United States.
Today, we’re in a different kind of war.
But one that has still placed a tremendous strain on our crop supply.
As a result, a new type of victory garden has emerged, the “Corona Victory Garden.”
Folks are planting a variety of foods from beans and potatoes to lettuce and corn.
Growing beds are pretty easy to set up in a yard. (Just be sure to fence them off if you have deer or other critters that can ruin your crops.)
No yard? No problem. In even the smallest spaces there is a place to grow herbs to spice up your food.
We all have some extra minutes these days.
Why not set up your own garden, and enjoy a bounty of fresh food through the pandemic, and beyond?
There’s a tremendous satisfaction of watching something you put in the soil grow to become something you can serve at the dinner table.
Plus, research shows that folks who garden are less stressed, happier and more satisfied with life.
And we could all use less stress and more happiness these days.
Stay safe out there.